Feeds

Google will eat itself in 202,345,117 years

Click bots shovel stock into secret Swiss bank

Security for virtualized datacentres

Update: After further investigation, it's likely the Google Will Eat Itself project is indeed ia hoax - though those behind it say that it's not.

A band of wily European performance artists say that for more than two and a half years, they have used an ongoing Google click fraud scheme as a means of acquiring hundreds of shares in Google stock. With this online ploy - dubbed Google Will Eat Itself - Hans Bernhard and his cohorts hope to eventually buy the entire company and turn it over to the people.

At the current rate, they say, the project will reach completion in about 202,345,117 years. But if you join the scheme, they insist, Google's self munch is all the closer. "If 10 million people start doing the same thing we're doing," says Hans Bernhard, a Vienna-based artist, "then Google would eat itself within a relatively short period of time."

Google Will Eat Itself

The Self Munch

Berhard calls Google Will Eat Itself an "auto-cannibalistic system." He and his pals claim that they run about 50 hidden web sites packed with Google ads and that they regularly generate clicks on these ads via an army of carefully-controlled online bots. "This isn't that hard to do if you have the technical skills. Google's system is not perfect." The trick, Bernard says, is to keep each bot below Google's click fraud threshold.

At the end of each month, Google forks over money for these clicks, they say, and they slip the money into a secret Swiss bank account. And when there's enough for another Google share, they buy another Google share. As it stands, they say, they've gobbled up 819 shares - a stake worth about $405,405.

Of course, ad funds coming from Google are first coming from Google advertisers.

"By short-circuiting Google's advertising system, we're having Google buy itself - though in the end we actually own the shares," Bernard says. "But this is not a criminal practice. We will give the shares back to the general public - general internet users."

Google acknowledges that at least 10 per cent of its ad clicks are fraudulent. Independent research firm Click Forensics says the industry wide rate is 16.2 per cent. And some victimized advertisers put the rate much higher. But you have to wonder if Google Will Eat Itself is just a bit of fun.

When we contacted Google, it said that it does not comment on individual AdSense users. According the Google Will Eat Itself site, the Mountain View search giant has turned off at least some of the group's click-generating sites ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff
Passenger had Something To Declare, instead fiddled while plane burned
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.